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Discover the Black Creek Gingerbread Village this Holiday Season


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This year, for the holiday season, Black Creek Pioneer Village is presenting for the first time a beautiful Gingerbread Village replete with culinary replicas of landmark buildings from one of Toronto's most popular tourist destinations. The gingerbread architecture will be on display until Dec. 23 when each of the buildings will be raffled off to lucky winners.


The Gingerbread Village exhibition kicked off on Nov. 18 with a competition where the winning bakers took home cash prizes. First prize winner was Suzanne Zimmerman, from Etobicoke, who built a gingerbread reproduction of the Tinsmith Shop. Second place was awarded to Ann Tzembelicos, from Maple, for her rendition of the Doctor's House, and third place went to Genevieve Dahan, from Brampton, for the Burwick House. All of the buildings will be included in the Gingerbread Village display - a miniature recreation of Black Creek Pioneer Village's most beloved heritage buildings, including a charming model train, which travels through the tiny gingerbread community.


"I really enjoyed it. I was surprised by how many people were competing. There were more than I expected, and I loved the range of entries," said first-place winner Suzanne Zimmerman, a second-year culinary student at Humber College. Zimmerman explained that she had to build the house three times since her dog, Max, ate the first two editions. "So after that I made the third one at a friend's house. It worked out for the better, because I was able to improve on the first two houses."


Judges were impressed by the simple form and fine details of Zimmerman's Tinsmith shop, with a large glass storefront that sparkles and a delicate balcony railing, as well as board and batten siding.


"The historic buildings at Pioneer Village display a high degree of craftsmanship and detailing that is lacking in much modern day construction," said architect Gill Haley of Goldsmith Borgal & Company, who was one of the judges at the competition. "I was hoping to see some of the same 'joy of creation' in the gingerbread models, and was not disappointed. While the baked medium with sugar icing is challenging to work with, the spirit of the gingerbread village structures is absolutely delightful."


"I think this is a really fun way to engage people," said Liz Driver, another one of the judges. Driver is a culinary historian and curator of Campbell House, another of Toronto's historical museums, housed in the oldest surviving brick building in the city.


"I've made gingerbread homes myself, so I can appreciate the skill and artistry of the entrants," explained Driver. "Of course, these are recreations of historic buildings, so accuracy was an important criteria in assessing their work."


"I loved the creativity," said Maria Honeychurch, executive chef at Black Creek Pioneer Village, including the Historic Brewery Restaurant. "It was interesting to see what ingredients the contestants chose to replicate the historic buildings here at the Village."


Architectural detail and culinary arts featured equally in the competition. "They needed to make full use of the baker's palette to reproduce details such as roof shingles or windows," said Driver. "As with all gingerbread houses, there is also an architectural challenge: the structures need to be strong enough to stand up, but not so strong that you would break your teeth when you eat them!"


The Gingerbread Village is open to the public until Dec. 23, 2010 and is free with the cost of general admission. Raffle tickets to win a building to take home cost $5 per ticket. The draw will be held on Dec. 22. Winners will be notified and can pick the building of their choice on a first-come, first-served basis on Dec. 23.


The Gingerbread Village is just one highlight in a packed program of seasonal events at Black Creek Pioneer Village. This year will see the introduction of Lunch with Santa, (Dec 4- 5, 11- 12, 18-23), as well as the perennial favourites - Christmas Dinners and the stunningly beautiful Christmas By Lamplight, (Dec. 4, 11 and 18) - an event which sees the whole Village lit by hundreds of period lamps.


Black Creek Pioneer Village is located at 1000 Murray Ross Parkway, Toronto, (one block east of Jane St., south off Steeles Avenue, right next to York University). The Village is south east of Hwy 7 and Hwy 400. Parking is available on site. For more information, visit, or call (416) 736-1733.





Media contact:
Eric Philpott
philpott | communications
(905) 773-6651


About Black Creek Pioneer Village
Black Creek Pioneer Village is Toronto's premier outdoor living history museum. Visitors can explore heritage homes and buildings restored to re-create an 1860s Ontario village. Historic interpreters in period dress demonstrate how villagers lived, worked and played. The Village hosts learning programs and special events that highlight local heritage and culture. The tranquil setting, rural landscapes, heritage gardens and period farm animal breeds make Black Creek Pioneer Village the perfect place to break out of the modern world and journey into the past. Located in north Toronto, Black Creek Pioneer Village is owned and operated by Toronto and Region Conservation (TRCA). For more information please visit


Black Creek Pioneer Village acknowledges support from the City of Toronto, the Ontario Ministry of Tourism and Culture, The Conservation Foundation of Greater Toronto, and the public.